Philosophy of Mind 1:

The Concept of Mind in Early-Modern Philosophy

James Hill, Ph.D

Monday, 17.30-19.05, Room 225V

Course Aims

This course aims to introduce and discuss different conceptions of the mind, starting from Descartes. We will be particularly interested in how philosophers in the early-modern period answered the question of what the essence of mind is, and to what extent the nature of mind can be known. We will also examine how philosophers in this period conceived of the powers of mind, and how they thought the mind was related to the rest of nature. In particular we will look at the philosophy of mind in the following thinkers: René Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Nicholas Malebranche, George Berkeley, Gottfried Leibniz, Baruch Spinoza, and David Hume.


Course Requirements:

Each week there will be a reading available in the library (and on Moodle) which will then be the subject of our discussion in these seminars.

Our course will be graded according to two criteria: attendance and written work. Students who have not had more than three absences will be eligible for the grade. The written work will be a short essay, of at least 2,000 words (hardcopy please), on one subject from the course. This essay should show knowledge of the philosopher(s) in question, as well as the student’s own argued standpoint. The deadline for handing in the essay is February 1st, 2010.

Those who meet the two course requirements will be graded with an examination (zkouška) for four points in the old Czech system, or 6 credits in the international Erasmus system.